Forests and livelihoods: sustaining people and planet” underscores the celebration of World Wildlife Day (WWD) 2021 - an annual event celebrated every 3rd of March to raise awareness on the importance of the world’s wild flora and fauna.

This year, the United Nations (UN) is highlighting the role of forests, forest species and ecosystems services in sustaining the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people globally, particularly those indigenous and local communities with historic ties to forested and forest-adjacent areas.

DENR VIII Regional Executive Director Tirso P. Parian, Jr. says this year’s observance challenges everyone in the region to revisit their practices that affect the forests and wildlife species.

He shares that as of 2015, Eastern Visayas’ remaining forest cover is at 182,739 hectares, covering 2.6% of the total 7,014,152 hectares Philippine forest cover. (Philippine Forestry Statistics 2019) This is home to 149 species of forest-dwelling species identified by DENR Region 8 through its Biodiversity Monitoring System (BMS).

“These forests and wildlife species are essential to the economic and personal welfare of the people in Region 8. Let us always be reminded that forests provide us with livelihood and the most basic things we need – water, food, shelter, clothing, and medicine”, he stressed.

The UN is making a global call through WWD to promote forest and forest wildlife management practices that accommodate both human well-being and the conservation of forests, forest-dwelling species of wild fauna and flora and the ecosystems they sustain.

Responding to this call, DENR Region VIII is conducting community education and public awareness (CEPA) activities for local communities in sites regularly monitored by the DENR under its Protection and Conservation of Wildlife Program. To reach a wider audience, infographics, news releases, and an online discussion on forests and wildlife will be streamed through DENR VIII’s Facebook page.  DENR is also launching a Campaign Slogan Contest open to DENR Youth Ambassadors to support the advocacy promoted with this year’s World Wildlife Day celebration.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed March 3 as World Wildlife Day on December 20, 2013. This day coincides with the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973.